Balancing energy use, production capabilities
Packaging machinery OEMs need to find a way to set themselves apart to succeed, and one way may be with attention to energy efficiency. Doug Burns, practice lead for sustainable production at Rockwell Automation, says, “We are starting to see end users ask for energy data and add it to their primary decision points of cost and performance.
Packaging machinery OEMs need to find a way to set themselves apart to succeed, and one way may be with attention to energy efficiency. Doug Burns, practice lead for sustainable production at Rockwell Automation, says, “We are starting to see end users ask for energy data and add it to their primary decision points of cost and performance. OEMs who want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace are going to have to say 'our machines are 25% cheaper to operate than any others on the market.'”
Packaging equipment OEMs are being called on to generate creative solutions, such as a machine with an energy-saver mode that would send a system to sleep when the line is not in actual production. Source: SEW Eurodrive
Packaging equipment ranges from mechanical systems in which everything is line-shafted and driven by one large motor to all servo-driven machines that tend to be more highly engineered. In between these extremes is a nearly-infinite array of variations for which efficiency and productivity are paramount. Optimizing these goals requires a focus on the total machine and its components, especially motors.
Whether companies use regular ac motors or new high-efficiency devices, users today need to be cognizant of their energy use, says Rich Mintz, product manager, SEW Eurodrive. “In applications performing a high level of indexing in high-cycling applications, the motors often spend more time starting up than running. In those cases, a premium efficient motor may be efficient, but it takes a lot more energy to start. In the end, it can actually use more energy than a standard motor,” he says.
For more on automation in packaging, read:
- Investment decisions are not automatic in tough market ;
- Automation drives efficiency, lowers cost .
On the other hand, there is an upfront cost to servo technology, but it is offset by added flexibility, says Ben Green, packaging industry consultant for the Motion Control Solutions group pf Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. For these types of systems, the issue "is not as much about reducing energy as about increasing machine throughput using the same amount of energy," he says.
From the system perspective, machine building also is headed toward incorporating more diagnostics at the design level, says Burns. This better enables a balance between energy efficiency and productivity throughout a machine's life.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey